In a mooted deal that will test the independence of Fairfax's newspapers, Fairfax is considering a merger with Macquarie Radio, controlled by John Singleton. Both companies tried to do a deal in 2011, but it fell apart when Macquarie couldn't offer sufficient funding certainty to the bigger Fairfax Radio that would have seen the merger happen.
If the deal goes ahead, it will see the two companies merge their AM radio networks. This would provide a strong play to sell advertising nationally, including on the top rating stations in Sydney and Melbourne. But the merged entity would have to sell one Sydney station to make it happen -- either Macquarie's easy music station 2CH or Fairfax's talk station 2UE. Both are marginal performers for their owners. Former powerhouse 2UE finished 11th out of 14 stations in the most recent radio ratings with a piddling 4% audience share. 2CH was barely any better with 4.8%.